When he first started writing, Richard Courage surely couldn’t imagine his book would attract national attention. Since its publication, “The Muse in Bronzeville: African American Creative Expression in Chicago, 1932-50” has won the Superior Achievement in Scholarly Publication award from the Illinois State Historical Society.
This book offers the first comprehensive account of the creative awakening that occurred on Chicago’s South Side from the early 1930s to the Cold War. During this time period, African Americans living in the city including Richard Wright and Gordon Parks created works of literature, music and visual art. Courage claims this artistic awakening is comparable to the Harlem Renaissance.
Since its publication last fall, Courage’s book has been nominated for the Westchester Library Association’s Washington Irving Award for Nonfiction. It is also being used as a text for a summer session on black history sponsored by the National Endowment.
Courage co-authored the book with his late friend and mentor, Robert Bone, who taught at Columbia University. He continues to teach at Westchester Community College.
In the coming months, Courage is scheduled to make a number of local presentations about his book and its subject matter. He will speak at Temple Shaaray Tefi in Bedford Corners on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. Later in the year, Courage will be at the Ossining Public Library on September 20 at 7:00 p.m. On November 8 at 7:00 p.m., you can catch him at the Warner Library in Tarrytown.